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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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days in the secret agreements^ and while the Allies were still fighting on
the Western front they had concluded a peace with Germany at Brest-
Litovsk.* With this record in the history of the Soviet Government, the
fact could not be excluded that, should Germany, not Hitler's, but some
revolutionary or even a strongly conservative Germany, stretch out a
hand to Moscow, and if on some future day this offer should suit her
purpose, she, Russia, would conclude a separate armistice or a separate
peace with that country.
The Soviet Premier need merely repeat Molotov's explanation of the
1939 Treaty with Hitler : " Yesterday we were enemies—to-day we are
friends/'andStalin's words : " It is not our aim to destroy Germany,"f
would suffice the peoples of the Soviet Empire.
The knowledge in London and Washington that Moscow considered
herself free to change the camp in which she would fight, or merely stand,
the knowledge of Russia's political flexibility at which Moscow constantly
hinted one way or another, lay as a heavy cloud on the relations between
the Soviets and the Allies. This fear of a victorious Russia in Central
Europe in the place of Germany, made Chamberlain (even after he had
realised that without the support of the Red Army it would be impossible
to stop Hitler), unwilling to form an alliance with the Kremlin. This
same fear, but now grounded on the supposition that by Russia eventually
concluding a separate peace with Germany or by her defeating that
country, she (Russia) would become the dominant Ptfwer in Europe, was
to arouse in Great Britain, and to some extent in the U.S., those same
sentiments in relation to the Soviets, which, in the case of Germany, had
led to Munich. Thus a policy of appeasement towards Moscow was
started in Britain when Churchill made his historic speech on June 22,
1941, offering unconditional British aid to Russia. There was astonish-
ment in Moscow for the Soviet rulers had been firmly convinced that
they could not expect any help from London, where, as they knew, the
opinion on Russia was divided. Britain would, no doubt, they anticipated,
quietly look on, just as they themselves had looked on during those two
critical years of that Island's struggle, accusing her meanwhile of im-
perialist designs. Therefore they were frankly amazed by the British
attitude. After the first short moment of surprise, Moscow at once passed
* The Soviets had condemned the war and " the secret treaties with Russia's
Allies '* by which the Tsarist government undertook ... to send millions of
Russian soldiers to support the " allies on the imperialist fronts and to protect the
tremendous profits of the British and French capitalists." (History of the Commun-
ist Party of the Soviet Union, English version, Moscow, 1942> p« 101). " The
Soviet Government," runs the quoted official History•,, "called upon all the
belligerent peoples and their governments to start immediate negotiations for a
just, democratic peace , . . the Allies—Great Britain and France—refused to
accept the proposal of the Soviet Government. In view of this refusal, the Soviet
Government decided to start negotiations with Germany and Austria."
** On February 23rd> the Central Committee decided to accept the terms of the
German Command and to sign the peace treaty " (p. 215).
t Stalin* J,, Order of the Day to the Red Army, February 23rd, 1943.